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Pritzker to sign controversial criminal justice reform on Monday; Sheriff Brian Asbell responds

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PEORIA (WEEK) - Governor JB Pritzker is expected to sign a controversial criminal justice bill Monday. This is according to State Senator Elgie Sims who confirmed this Friday.

The bill was passed in mid-January and has been on Pritzker's desk since. Some of the major reforms include ending cash bail by 2023, limiting use of force by officers, and mandating body cameras by 2025.

Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell has been outspoken about the legislation. He said in an interview Sunday that the way it is written will be interpreted by law enforcement across the state in a way "that's dangerous. It is absolutely dangerous."

Specifically, he refers to the limitations on use of force for law enforcement. Asbell said the majority of calls his deputies go out on, and the majority of inmates coming into the jail are for domestic violence. With the new restrictions, he explains this scenario could play out over and over again.

"So you go to a house and ill say its a male female situation and the male is the aggressor. The male says i will fight you or i will resist if you try to arrest me. At that point obviously we know where they live and we know their identity we probably end up knowing where they work through an interview with the spouse or significant other. At that point we have a duty to retreat. Same scenario I'll go back there the next day to try to conduct the arrest and you run into the same process. I'm not going to go to jail. That's the problem."

Asbell said he'll be making a presentation to the Peoria County Board later this week regarding the new reforms. At that time he insists there will need to be changes in the way law enforcement respond to certain situations, making it harder for them to do their job safely.

Kyle Beachy

Kyle Beachy is a Multimedia Journalist for 25 News and Heart of Illinois. Born and raised in Kokomo, Indiana, he attended Indiana Wesleyan University where he studied Education and played baseball. He comes to us from Columbus, Ohio where he received a Master’s Degree from The Ohio State University.

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